CFK Weekly—Dec. 11, 2000

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in whole or part, please attribute it to Connect for Kids (www.connectforkids.org).

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NEW ON CONNECT FOR KIDS

**OnRamp@Sunset: Integrating Arts and Technology

**Standing Up for Kids in Foster Care

**Children's Early Years

**NPR Looks at Child Care in America

CONNECT TODAY

**More Kids as Community Builders

ADVOCATES' CORNER

**Youth Crime Down Again -- Help Get the Word Out

**New Child Care Statistics Renew Call for Increased Federal Funding

**Champions for Children

**Structuring the Inquiry into Advocacy

**Family Literacy Advocacy

**Channeling Grief into Policy Change

HEALTH NEWS

**Vital Statistics Overview

**CDC Issues Lead Poisoning Prevention Endorsement

**Scholars Research Paternal Influence

EARLY AND LATER LEARNING

**The Kindergarten Year

**Pursuing Excellence: Eighth-Grade Math and Science Achievement

RESOURCES FOR COMMUNITY BUILDERS

**United Way Measures Caring Communities

**Funding for Food Stamp Outreach in Communities

**Digital Divide and Community Action

**Vision USA Offers Free Eye Care

**Financing Help for Out-of-School Programs

**Leadership for a Changing World

**Protecting Children and Youth Action Kit for Municipal Leaders

BOOK REVIEWER NEEDED

**Adoption Nation

REPORTS IN BRIEF

**Law Enforcement Referral of At-Risk Youth: the SHIELD Program

**PATS 2000 Teen Drug Use Data

FOCUS ON THE STATES

**Kidscountnetwork.net Launched

**Three Years into SCHIP: to Spend or Not to Spend

**State-by-State News

SUBSCRIBE/UNSUBSCRIBE

 


NEW ON CONNECT FOR KIDS

**OnRamp@ Sunset: Integrating Arts and Technology

by Victoria Bernal

In a converted old firehouse in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles,
low-income students and adult artists put technology at the service of
artistic expression, in a unique

organization called OnRamp@Sunset. Victoria Bernal, Benton Foundation
program associate, reports.

http://www.connectforkids.org/content1549/content_show.htm?attrib_id=297&doc_id=42796

**Standing Up for Kids in Foster Care

by Julee Newberger

For child advocates, working together can be the key to success. Julee
Newberger looks at how concerned citizens in Virginia put a stop to a policy
change that they believed would harm vulnerable children.

http://www.connectforkids.org/content1552/content_show.htm?attrib_id=310&doc_id=42804

**Children's Early Years

From child development and health to parenting and family-friendly
workplaces, our Early Years feature connects you to tools and information
on the important first years of children's lives. Be sure to check the
blue sidebar for our Early Learning section!

http://www.connectforkids.org/content1554/content.htm

**NPR Looks at Child Care in America

In their December 2000 radio series, National Public Radio looks at
the issue of child development and care -- from smart programs investing
in child care teachers in Washington state and top-of-the-line child care
in the military, to the often prohibitive cost of quality care across the
country. (To listen, download the RealMedia® Player).

http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/001204.childcare.html

 


CONNECT TODAY

**More Kids as Community Builders

You've been sending inspiring stories about children and young people
making communities better for kids and families. Please keep 'em coming!
Send stories of civic-minded youth to julee@benton.org.

 


ADVOCATES' CORNER

**Youth Crime Down Again -- Help Get the Word Out!

Youth crime may be down, but surveys show the public persists in considering
it an intractable problem. On Dec. 14, the Office of Juvenile Justice and
Delinquency Prevention will release a major report on youth crime that
shows the news is good. Advocates can help their local media prepare so
they can do a better job at reporting the good news. For more information,
e-mail Liz Ryan at the Justice Policy Institute <lizryan.bby@erols.com>.

**New Child Care Statistics Renew Call for Increased Federal Funding

States are using all the federal funding they have to help working
families pay for child current, but current funding levels are enough only
to serve the needs of a small percentage of eligible families. About 1.8
million children in low-income families are receiving federal child-care
subsidies on an average monthly basis -- only 12 percent of the 15 million
children estimated to be eligible for federal support, according to 1999
data released by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. Congress
has yet to pass the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill, which includes
an increase in funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant.

http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2000pres/20001206.html

**Champions for Children

Ordinary citizens can make a difference when it comes to state decisions
about budgets, programs and priorities for kids and families. Maryland's
Children's Action Network offers facts, tips, and allies for improving
public policy in 2001 -- helpful for any state, and a ?must-have? for Maryland.
E-mail Jan Schmidt <jschmidt@acy.org> for a copy. Check your Connect
for Kids state page for the leading child advocacy organizations in your
state.

http://www.connectforkids.org/homepage1576/index.htm

**Structuring the Inquiry into Advocacy

Executive summaries and key papers from the first of three Urban Institute
seminars on strengthening nonprofit advocacy examine the federal regulation
of nonprofits, including the new Section 527 organizations, and the increasing
role of special interest contributions to discourage harmful legislation
or avoid political ?unfavors.?

http://www.urban.org/advocacyresearch/structuring.html

**Family Literacy Advocacy

Advocacy doesn't have to be a scary word -- for service providers,
it is all in a day's work. Find guidance on being an advocate on behalf
of family literacy programs, or sign up for family literacy advocacy alerts.
Even if you're not a literacy professional, you might find these tips helpful!

http://www.famlit.org/policy/advocacy.html

**Channeling Grief into Policy Change

Parents who have lost a child -- to drowning, accidents, car crashes
or violence -- sometimes find the courage to seek changes in policies or
practices so that other families will not have to endure such losses. The
Trauma Foundation at San Francisco General Hospital has established an
online community for survivor advocates and injury prevention professionals
to share stories, expertise and strategies.

http://www.tf.org/tf/advocates/advocate1.shtml

 


HEALTH NEWS

**Vital Statistics Overview

The declines in infant and child mortality have been dramatic over
the course of the 20th century, but racial disparities persist, according
to the annual report on vital statistics. In 1915, approximately 100 white
infants per 1000 live births died in the first year of life. In 1998, the
infant mortality rate was 7.2 overall, 6.0 for white infants, and 14.3
for black infants.  The leading causes of child mortality have also
changed. Infants and children used to die of infectious diseases; now they
are more likely to die of unintentional injuries (accidents).
http://www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/abstract/106/6/1307

**CDC Issues Lead Poisoning Prevention Endorsement

Despite longstanding requirements for blood lead screening in the Medicaid
program, an estimated 81 percent of young children enrolled in Medicaid
have not been screened with a blood lead test.  On Dec. 8, 2000, the
Centers for Disease Control Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning
Prevention called on states to change policies and programs to ensure that
young children enrolled in Medicaid receive the screening and follow-up
services they need. The committee also summarized implementation strategies
for carrying out the Medicaid screening requirement.

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr4914a1.htm

**Scholars Research Paternal Influence

A father or father figure who has a caring, not overprotective, relationship
with his daughter can help her grow up to form stable and solid long-term
relationships with men. The researchers report their ?most astounding?
finding was the number of girls reporting being sexually abused as a child.

http://news.excite.com:80/news/uw/001128/university-67

 


EARLY AND LATER LEARNING

**The Kindergarten Year

Overall, most kindergarten kids are improving their reading and math
skills by a significant amount regardless of race, income, mother's educational
attainment or other demographic measures. But, according to ?The Kindergarten
Year,? that doesn't mean that all kids are learning the same things at
the same rate. The National Center for Education Statistics Children reports
that by the end of the kindergarten year, students with more disadvantaged
backgrounds catch up in basic reading and math skills, but on measures
of more sophisticated knowledge and skills they end up farther behind.

http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2001023

**Pursuing Excellence: Eighth-Grade Math and Science Achievement

The Third International Mathematics and Science Study details findings
on the performance of eighth-grade students in mathematics and science
in 1999, as well as changes in mathematics and science achievement in participating
nations between 1995 and 1999. In 1999, U.S. eighth-graders exceeded the
international average in mathematics and science among the 38 participating
nations. This good news was tempered, however, by findings that the relative
performance of the U.S. in math and science was lower for eighth-graders
in 1999 than it was for fourth-graders in 1995.

http://nces.ed.gov/commissioner/remarks2000/12_5_2000.asp

Check out the Connect for Kids' feature on Kids and Learning for more
data, and ideas for how you can help your students and your schools. http://www.connectforkids.org/content1556/content.htm

 


RESOURCES FOR COMMUNITY BUILDERS

**United Way Measures Caring Communities

How can we measure a community's health and well-being? Each year the
United Way of America has looked at a set of selected measures, including
work opportunities, housing affordability, school finances and class size,
infant health, property and violent crime rates and environmental quality.
Their findings show a strong upward national trend over the last decade
on many measures, but a downward trend in twelve of the measures, including
income inequality, low birth-weight babies, voter turnout and hard drug
use in high school. Minnesota ranked highest overall, while New Mexico
ranked lowest.

http://national.unitedway.org/news.cfm

**Funding for Food Stamp Outreach in Communities

Funding for most of the Food Stamp Outreach and Research for Kids Act
(FORK) provisions was included in the FY 2001 Agriculture Appropriations
Act, which passed both Houses and was signed into law by President Clinton
on October 28, 2000. This means at least $3 million will be available for
grants of up to $300,000 per proposal for community outreach. Completed
grant applications are due Jan. 5, 2001.

http://www.fns.usda.gov/fsp/GRANTS/ProgramAccess.HTM

**Digital Divide and Community Action

Butte, Montana is using U.S. Dept. of Labor dollars to help fund a
Youth Employment and Training Program. In Arizona, ?Phoenix at Your Fingertips?
provides computer access to a database of neighborhood services. In Goleta,
California there are computers in regional offices so Head Start families
can learn how to use them. These are some of the examples cited in the
National Association of Community Action Agencies' survey on information
technology for low-income communities.

http://www.nacaa.org/digitaldivide.htm

**Vision USA Offers Free Eye Care

Low-income uninsured workers and their families can apply for free
eye exams through VISION USA, a national, nonprofit program that matches
low-income children and adults with optometrists in their communities who
provide free comprehensive eye exams in their offices. Eye exams will be
given beginning in March 2001, but applications must be postmarked by Jan.
22, 2001.

http://www.aoanet.org under "Meet
the AOA?

**Financing Help for Out-of-School Programs

You can figure out the range of costs that out-of-school time and community
school initiatives incur and develop cost estimates for continuing or expanding
programs with the help of the Finance Project's ?Cost Worksheet for Out-of-School
Time and Community School Initiatives.?

http://www.financeproject.org/costworksheet.pdf

Find ideas for financing the space for your program from the Finance
Project's strategy brief, ?Financing Facility Improvements for Out-of-School
Time School Programs.?

http://www.financeproject.org/Brief4.pdf

?Maximizing Medicaid Funding to Support Health and Mental Health Services
for School-Age Children and Youth? is the Finance Project's most recent
strategy brief that helps nonprofits maximize their options.

http://www.financeproject.org/osthome.htm

**Leadership for a Changing World

The Advocacy Institute's new program will recognize, strengthen, and
support community leaders in such areas as human rights, the arts, education,
human development and the environment. Awardees will receive $100,000 over
two years to support their program work, plus $30,000 for activities to
advance their leadership skills. Nominations are due January 2001.

http://www.leadershipforchange.org

**Protecting Children and Youth Action Kit for Municipal Leaders

The National League of Cities' (NLC) Institute for Youth, Education
and Families has released an action kit for preventing youth violence and
reducing child abuse and neglect. Its wide array of research-based strategies
show how mayors and city council members are uniquely positioned to put
children's safety on the public agenda by convening community groups, financing
promising initiatives, advocating for needed resources, holding key actors
accountable for results and more. Contact Sharie Wood <wood@nlc.org>
for a copy.

Find more tools and resources for community builders on the ?Community
Building? topic page on Connect for Kids.

http://www.connectforkids.org/benton_topics1544/benton_topics.htm

 


BOOK REVIEWER NEEDED

**Adoption Nation

Connect for Kids is looking for someone to review Adam Pertman's account
of ?How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming America.? Despite its highly
readable prose, this book addresses serious policy and practice issues.
Send a resume and writing sample to <julee@benton.org>.

 


REPORTS IN BRIEF

**Law Enforcement Referral of At-Risk Youth: the SHIELD Program

In this Westminster, California program, police officers can use their
knowledge of their communities and their skills to identify and address
the needs of youth at high risk.
http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/pubs/delinq.html#184579

**PATS 2000 Teen Drug Use Data

The Drug-Free America Partnership reports that teen use of marijuana,
the most widely used drug, has continued to decline, while ecstasy use
has doubled since 1995.

http://www.drugfreeamerica.org/research/pats20002.asp

 


FOCUS ON THE STATES

**Kidscountnetwork.net Launched

The Network of KIDS COUNT state projects has launched a Web site that
offers information about the KIDS COUNT initiative, a complete resource
library of KIDS COUNT publications and profiles of each state project.

http://www.kidscountnetwork.net

**Three Years into SCHIP: to Spend or Not to Spend

All states have expanded health insurance coverage to children as a
result of the 1997 State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), but
only ten states are expected have used up the program's first-year allotment
by the end of fiscal year 2000, according to this Urban Institute report.
California and Texas account for about half of all unspent funds. http://newfederalism.urban.org/html/anf_a44.html

**State-by-State news

Check out news about kids in your state in the ?state-by-state? section
of the Connect for Kids. http://www.connectforkids.org/homepage1576/index.htm

California

A California Budget Project report reviews counties' progress in implementing
community service, explores the merits of wage-based community service
programs, and presents several promising models implemented in other states.

http://www.connectforkids.org/homepage1667/index.htm?state_id=381

Colorado

The Rocky Mountain News reports on a state legislative proposal to
give limited public assistance to non-custodial parents of children on
welfare to improve their job training and education.

http://www.connectforkids.org/homepage1667/index.htm?state_id=382

Connecticut

The Children's Health Council has recommendations for improving enrollment
and retention of eligible kids in public health insurance programs in its
report ?Uninsured Kids in Connecticut.?

http://www.connectforkids.org/homepage1667/index.htm?state_id=383

District of Columbia

DC Action for children reports that the District of Columbia will receive
an extra $20 million for the second year in a row -- a bonus in federal
TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) dollars for achieving one
of the nation's largest decreases in out-of-wedlock births.

http://www.connectforkids.org/homepage1667/index.htm?state_id=385

Illinois

Illinois Voices for Children sums up the news affecting kids and families
from the latest state legislative session. http://www.connectforkids.org/homepage1667/index.htm?state_id=390

Iowa

The University of Iowa's Child Interdisciplinary Disability Project
(CIDP), based at the University Hospital School in Iowa City, helps find
proper care in rural areas for kids with cerebral palsy or autism -- with
a high-tech twist.

http://www.connectforkids.org/homepage1667/index.htm?state_id=392

Maryland

Despite a booming economy, income growth among poorer Marylanders has
remained stagnant, according to a new report by the Maryland Budget and
Tax Policy Institute.

http://www.connectforkids.org/homepage1667/index.htm?state_id=397

Michigan

Plan ahead. The annual Michigan Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Conference
will be held June 7-8, 2001 at the Bavarian Inn Lodge & Conference
Center in Frankenmuth, Michigan.

http://www.connectforkids.org/homepage1667/index.htm?state_id=399

New Jersey

1800 former welfare recipients will be receiving state vouchers for
$3000 to improve their computer, reading, or math skills. http://www.connectforkids.org/homepage1667/index.htm?state_id=407

New York

The Special Child Welfare Advisory Panel established by the settlement
of the New York City child welfare reform lawsuit (Marison v. Giuliani)
offers a mixed review of progress in the city's Administration for Children's
Services.

http://www.connectforkids.org/homepage1667/index.htm?state_id=409

North Carolina ? Charlotte

Congratulations to Eric Smith, superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg
Schools, on receiving the Richard R. Green award for top urban educator
from the Council of the Great City Schools.

http://www.connectforkids.org/homepage1667/index.htm?state_id=1663

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children reports on accomplishments in
education but no action on resolving use of the state's tobacco settlement
money as the General Assembly adjourned for the 1999-2000 session.

http://www.connectforkids.org/homepage1667/index.htm?state_id=415

Virginia

The Action Alliance for Virginia Children and Youth report, ?Issues
in Children's Mental Health? calls for a focus on public awareness and
early intervention.

http://www.connectforkids.org/homepage1667/index.htm?state_id=424

Wisconsin

Former Wisconsin welfare recipients have been unable to advance into
more skilled jobs or earn wages above the federal poverty level once they
enter the labor market, according to a recent survey by the Wisconsin Council
on Children and Families.

http://www.connectforkids.org/homepage1667/index.htm?state_id=427

Keep in touch, everyone!

Jan Richter, Outreach Specialist and the Connect for Kids team

Jan@benton.org